Around 4 hours by air from the UK, the Maltese islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino are the perfect holiday destination for families who want a quiet holiday with sunshine and beaches, yet a familiar feeling of home.
In 1814 Malta became part of the British Empire and remained under British rule until it gained independence in 1964. The British influence is still tangible, whether it is finding a branch of Marks & Spencer in the capital Valletta, or finding English language newspapers and television programmes as mainstream. In fact sitting in a café with TV can be a chastening experience for a British tourist, as the programmes swap between English, Italian and Maltese and are understood equally by the Maltese.
Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches and lots of opportunities for activities, such as diving, riding and exploring its beautiful countryside. It also has an abundance of magnificent churches and historical reminders of its chequered history of rule by the French, Romans and Arabs as well as by the British.
For families a visit to Sweethaven Village is a must. Sweethaven Village was the location for the filming of ‘Popeye’, which starred Robin William in the title role.The film may not have been a massive success, but the set remains one of the most popular attractions on Malta. Your visit includes access to the film set, a boat trip, rides and games.
Another popular excursion is a visit to the Blue Grotto. A boat trip around these caves to see the brilliant phosphorescent colours of the water and to see the fish and underwater plants is a must.
If you want to visit the rest of the Maltese islands, ferries to Gozo depart regularly subject to weather conditions – in fact if the ferry does not run, the shops in Gozo do not bother opening, such is their reliance on the tourist industry.The tiny island of Comino has a ferry service provided by the Comino Hotel for its guests.
The currency is the Euro, which was adopted on 1st January 2008.